Reviews

Fan Expo Vancouver @ Vancouver Convention Centre – March 1st-3rd 2019

Professional aosplayer Evilyn13 at Fan Expo Vancouver at Vancouver Convention Centre in Vancouver, BC on March 3rd, 2019

The annual awesome that is Fan Expo Vancouver made its return to the Vancouver Convention Centre this past weekend.

It was a celebration of all things nerdy and geeky. The perfect place to socialize with like minded people, drop some dollars on some cool items, and see celebrities walking amongst the normies.

For me, things started on Saturday morning. I spent some time getting ready, making sure to pick the best t-shirt for the event. I was going to go with an obscure Time Bandits shirt, but then opted to go with a custom shirt I had made with my photos of Tom Petty. A little self-publicity.

When I arrived at the centre I went straight to the celebrity row to see which famous faces were already present and signing autographs. American actor Billy Dee Williams, of Lando Calrissian fame, and Canadian actress Pamela Anderson, best known for her role in Baywatch, were busy meeting and greeting. A little further away Star Trek alumni George Takei was leading a panel interaction with a few hundred eager fans.

Orc cosplay at Fan Expo Vancouver at Vancouver Convention Centre on March 2nd 2019

The level of excitement in the air was palpable.

This years event was smaller then previous years. Last years’ installment was pushed into November and with the return of their Spring slot for 2019, they must have had less time to plan the festivities.

But this smaller size was not bad in any way, it let the rearrange the layout and move the panels to within the same space as the show floor.

This was a great improvement over previous years. You could now spend some time shopping the rows and rows of merchants and artists, but then just pop over and catch a panel from your favourite special guest. I loved this change and from many of the attendees I spoke with, they too were excited about the adjustment.

Comic books for sale at Fan Expo Vancouver at Vancouver Convention Centre on March 2nd 2019

My favourite aspect of the Fan Expo is the cosplayers going all out in their homemade costumes. This year was no different. I spent Saturday and Sunday walking around and photographing those that agreed to be photographed. There was a costume for every taste; from multiple iterations of Spiderman, Deadpool, and Harley Quinn to obscure references like the Ghost of Captain Cutler, a vintage diving-helmet wearing villain from Scooby Doo to ultra creative pieces like the all-in-one Beast and Belle amalgamation that was thoughtfully and carefully pulled together.

It was astonishing to see all this hard work and dedication coming to life from people that truly love these various intellectual properties.

I spent some time watching the masses stand in line to get autographs from and photos taken with their favourite celebrity guests. It was fun to see how excited the fans would be but it was interesting to see how equally excited the celebrities would be in return. It always seemed to look like a genuine human interaction, which brought a smile to my face.

Riverdale star Madelaine Petsch seemed to be garnering the most attention. Droves of young fans lined up for a chance to interact with the CW television star. She had plenty of smiles and hugs for her fans.

I watched a few of the panels over the weekend; George Takei, Pamela Anderson, Cary Elwes, and Wallace Shawn. The attending crowds brought a bevy of solid questions and were met with honest and humble answers from the guests. In previous years I steered clear of these panels because I wasn’t sure what to expect, but after watching them this year, I will be making a greater effort in the future to check out more of them. It was another truly humanizing moment. It just felt like a room full of people having a conversation with no purpose other than genuine interest.

Star Trek alumni George Takei during a panel at Fan Expo Vancouver at Vancouver Convention Centre on March 2nd 2019

By the weekends end, I had spent a few dollars and met a few people.

I really want this event to succeed.

I want to see it grow.

The Fan Expo Canada in Toronto, ON is huge in comparison. It is essentially the San Diego Comic Con of Canada. I think many other Western Canadians nerds would agree that we would love to see this Vancouver version grow to something of equal size, a destination exposition that people plan their year around. Fingers crossed, I will be there year after year to support it in any capacity I can.

Photos © Jamie Taylor // Cryptic Photography

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